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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Raj makes history as first Saudi driver to win Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Yazeed Al Rajhi competes in the final stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

bay today, Journalist

Sebastien Loeb extended his lead in the World Rally Championship as Yazeed Al Rajhi became the first Saudi Arabian driver to win the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on Friday.

In T1, Rajhi started the final stage 10’27” ahead of Martin Prokop in the overall standings and went on to win the overall title, giving Toyota its third title after victories in 2016 and 2021. Adrien Van Beveren in late Dominant despite finishing only fifth in Abu Dhabi Air Stage 5, he claimed the Rally GP class win, his second since joining Honda. Luciano Benavi Des finished second and Toby Price third.

Paired with Fabian Lurquin in the Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter, Loeb took a measured drive on the final 206km stage to score the second-best time of the day to gain a 16-point lead over Nasser Al Attiyah on the W2RC.

The Qatari’s withdrawal from the Desert Challenge following a serious crash on Wednesday paved the way for Raj to win in the Toyota. He drove the Ford Raptor to the finish line in Abu Dhabi with a time of 12 minutes and 31 seconds ahead of Prokop.

After an impressive win on the penultimate stage, Loeb took a safer approach on the final day, knowing that a bad landing could hinder his way to the finish, and in this Zhou earned all the points the hard way driving the impressive BRX Prodrive Hunter.

The nine-time World Rally Champion is now firmly on W2RC pole in the Hunter, although a mechanical issue in the opening stages resulted in a huge time penalty that cost him his first win in the UAE.
Finishing the final stage, Loeb said: “We’re in the final stage of the rally and we’re finally done. Some good points for the championship. It’s the best we can hope for when we’re unlucky (on stage 1). We’re just hoping We’re still ahead of the champions and we’ve extended our lead, so we’re happy.

2023 is one of the safest ADDCs on record with only minor medical interventions. Sean Petherbridge, Chairman of the FIA ​​Medical Committee and former Chief Marketing Officer of EMSO, commented: “There were seven incidents, three of which required helicopter evacuations and the others were present before the medical teams on arrival. Overall “It’s been a safe event, and we’ve seen fewer accidents than in previous years, reflecting the high quality of the participants in this race. In addition, the weather was slightly cooler than usual, which helped drivers and riders maintain Stay well hydrated.

This is very important late in each segment and in the second half of the race, because fatigue is a big factor. I would also like to add that the work of the medical teams and the presence of helicopters and the National Ambulance Service are especially important for quick and effective interventions. Being able to quickly approach competitors is important for the well-being of everyone involved. “

HE Khalid Ben Sulayem, Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sports Organization (EMSO), commented: “The second edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) World Championship has been an exciting journey for all involved, whether you are participating as a Whether for the organization or as a spectator, the 2023 edition of ADDC will remain in our memories for a long time to come. A combination of skill, action, drama, bravery and good sportsmanship, Marking this year as an important one in the development and global popularity of this extraordinary event.

We are proud of everyone who made it happen. We would also like to express our sincere thanks to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Delegate Court of Rulers of the Al Dhafrah Region for their support, hospitality and generosity in making this match so success.

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